Spanish Peaks & Great Sand Dunes Bike Tour
107 Aurum St, Box 855, Ophir, CO 81426 970.728.5891

Spanish Peaks & Great Sand Dunes

Please click here to jump to the Overview section with all tour details including pricing.

Spanish Peaks & Great Sand Dunes Bike Tour: Highlights

The Spanish Peaks of south central Colorado are among the most important landmarks in the southwestern United States, guiding Native American tribes, trappers, and American settlers. The Ute and other Indian tribes held the Peaks in religious awe and named the mountains Wahatoya, meaning “Breasts of the Earth.” Lizard Head Cycling’s Spanish Peaks and Great Sand Dunes National Park, one of our best Colorado Bicycle Tours, explores this remote region rich in biological diversity, history and scenic beauty.

Colorado is a land of contrasts with no bigger disparity then the transition from prairie to alpine environment. The eastern third of Colorado is the western edge of the Great Plains. As one heads west from Kansas, the landscape changes dramatically and seemingly out of nowhere, the Colorado Rockies rise in awe thousands of feet above the landscape. If you have never seen this, your jaw may scrape the pavement as this view appears before you.” – Michael Seeberg, author of Road Biking Colorado

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Great Sand Dunes National Park

The Spanish Peaks with Radiating Dikes

The Spanish Peaks and Radiating Dike

Highway of Legends Scenic Byway

Highway of Legends Scenic Byway

West Spanish Peak at 13,625-feet

The Great Sand Dunes National Park, Southwest Colorado; cradle of Colorado’s Hispanic Culture, Colorado’s oldest town; San Luis, the Highway of the Legends Scenic By-Way, Pike’s Peak and the Sangre De Christo (Blood of Christ Mountains).

“Being a lover of mountains and forests I did not expect to feel the way I did when documenting Colorado’s Great Plains. There is tremendous scenery with a feeling of immensity — a sense of vastness you can’t get in the mountain unless standing atop a peak. This is a not cornfield: its open range in a landscape that is anything but flat. In the winter, it’s a windswept and harsh a place as any.  In the spring (late-April & May), it’s a vast rolling carpet of fluorescent green and wildflowers.” – Michael Seeberg, author of Road Biking Colorado

Spanish Peaks & Great Sand Dunes Bike Tour: Testimonials

Read what previous guests on our Spanish Peaks & Great Sand Dunes Bike Tour have been saying…

Our group had a great time. David and Zach were great and communicated well. They kept us safe and on track. Certainly a very challenging 7 days. I particularly liked the Antler in Creede and Strater in Durango and the bed and breakfasts in Cuchara, which was a great town. Love Durango Fun lunch in Lake City.The morning ride out of Cuchara was my favorite. Looking forward to our next trip. – Dave

Spanish Peaks & Great Sand Dunes Bike Tour: Dates

Potential tour dates are listed below and not all tour dates will run. Lock in your preferred tour date early as unopened tour dates will be closed. Please see the Spring/Autumn Tour Calendar and the Summer Tour Calendar for confirmed departures. Any unopened date can be a Custom Week (9 riders required). Please contact us via email or call 970.728.5891

To easily register for a particular tour, please click the Book Now! link after the tour date listed below. This will select the tour name and the appropriate date on the registration form.

2023 Tour Dates

Tour Status Notes: NO STATUS = Date Set, no riders have signed up. TOUR OPENED = Tour Opened, rider minimums not met. TOUR A GO! = Tour is Go, rider minimums met. SOLD OUT = Tour Full, rider maximums met.

Spanish Peaks & Great Sand Dunes Bike Tour: Overview

Reptile Rewards

Tour Length: 7-Days Cycling/7-Nights Lodging

Meeting Town: Colorado Springs, Colorado. Colorado Springs Airport (COS).

Ending Town: Durango, Colorado. Durango–La Plata County Airport (DRO)

Pre-Tour Shuttle: A Day 0 shuttle with Lizard Head Cycling is available for $85/pp from Durango to Colorado Springs if reservations are made in advance.

Total Mileage: Standard 350 Miles or E.F.I (every freaking inch) 495 Miles. (Can I keep up on this tour?)

Mileage Average Range: 50-101 miles

Group Size: 6 to 15 riders

Ability Level: Intermediate (2/3)  to Upper Intermediate (3) 

Tour Cost: $3,145 per person with shared accommodations. Add $595 per person to this Tour Cost for a private room each night of the tour (7-Nights). Group discount of $200 per person for groups of 4 or more.
Please see our Tour Discounts Policy.

Tour Includes: 7-Days guide service, 7-Nights lodging, 6-Days of meals, entrance fees, daily lunch en route, energy food, liquid refreshments, in-tour shuttles, and mechanical support. Alcoholic beverages, bike rental, and massage (if available) are additional.

Non-Riding Spouses & Partners on Tour: If a non-riding spouse or partner would like to join you on tour and they have their own transportation, they can stay in your room for the cost of the tour's single room supplement. Non-Riding spouses and partners can join a tour's meal plan of three meals a day for $85 per day.

Lodging for 7 nights: (subject to change)

  • Night 1: Florence Rose Bed & Breakfast, Florence, Colorado (elevation 5,180-feet)
  • Night 2: Tarabino Inn, Trinidad, Colorado (elevation 6,010-feet)
  • Night 3: 1899 Bed & Breakfast Inn, La Veta, Colorado (elevation 7,037-feet)
  • Night 4: Great Sand Dunes Lodge, Mosca, Colorado (elevation 7,559-feet)
  • Night 5: Holiday Inn Express & Suites, Gunnison, Colorado (elevation 7,700-feet)
  • Night 6: The Firemen’s Inn, Creede, Colorado (elevation 8,799-feet)
  • Night 7: Strater Hotel, Durango, Colorado (elevation 6,512-feet)

Additional Activities: Swimming, waterfalls, massage, and yoga. For private groups we can offer a spectacular hike of 14,000-foot Culebra peak on Day 3.

Road Bike Rentals

NOTE: The make, model, and specifications of rental bikes may differ from what is described below. Please contact us if you have any specific needs for a rental bike or have any questions about rental bikes.

Lizard Head Cycling Guides is proud to rent Scott Bikes. The Scott Addict 10 Disc was designed from the ground up with those longer days in mind. With geometry that is less focused on racing and more on enduring, the Addict 10 will be your go to when you’re looking to put the miles in.

The Scott Addict 10 Disc features: Carbon Frame and Fork, Shimano Ultegra 2x11 Drivetrain, 34x32 Compact Gearing, 30mm Tires, and Hydraulic Disc Brakes. Approx. Weight: 16.89 lbs / 7.66 kg (without pedals)

Learn More: Click Here to learn more about our Road Bike Rentals including pricing.

Road E-Bike Rentals: Click Here for more information on our Road E-Bike Rentals including pricing. Please note that E-Bikes are not available for certain tours including those that involve camping. Please contact us for more information before registering for a tour. NOTE: E-Bikes are great, but our tours are designed to be ridden without motorized assistance. We offer "bumps" along the road so that everyone can stay together.

Couples Bike Rental Discount: Sign up as a couple and receive a $125 discount on the second bike rental for a one week tour. (Standard road bikes only. E-Bikes and east coast based tours excluded.)

Tandems and Recumbents: Lizard Head Cycling Guides happily accommodates both tandem and recumbent bikes on our tours.

If you have any further questions, please read more on our Rental Bikes FAQ page. You can also email us at or call us at 970.728.5891

Meals On Tour

Lizard Head Cycling Guides provides most meals on all tours (unless otherwise noted) including breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Guides will prepare a daily lunch en route for nearly every tour, both road and off-road, as well as provide nutritious snacks at periodic aid stations during the day.

Most of our road tours utilize local restaurants for all meals and occasionally guides may prepare a dinner or two during a tour. Due to the nature of being "off the grid", most of our off-road tours feature guide prepared meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. FUN NOTE: When guides prepare a meal in camp and the guests sit around and watch, this is called "Guide TV". :)

We also pride ourselves on being able to cater to specific dietary requests and needs, so rest assured that you will be able to get the nutrition that works best for you during your tour. Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan, or a someone who loves it all – we will keep you well fed during the tour!

Lunches: Lizard Head Cycling Guides prepares healthy lunches to keep you going. We will serve you fresh organic fruits and veggies, salads, hummus, sandwich fixings, nuts, gourmet cheeses and, of course, plenty of salty/sweet snacks such as chips and cookies.

Dinners: On our road tours, Lizard Head Cycling sources our favorite restaurants in each town that we visit. Our guides focus on establishments that offer fresh and local ingredients and guests choose whatever they desire to eat off the menu including: appetizer, salad, entrée, and of course, dessert... yum! :) Also, while on tour if a guest wants to dine early before the group and go to bed, this is fine. We understand that on some days sleep is the most important post-ride element.

Overall Route Map

Below is an example of the daily routes for this tour and are subject to change based on season, available accommodations, road closures, and other factors. The actual routes will be made available to registered participants before their tour, so please view these routes as a general outline as to what to expect.

Ability Level: Can I Ride This Tour?

Definition of Ability Levels

= Intermediate (2/3) Rides and/or takes spin classes 1 to 3 times a week for a total of 50 or more miles.
= Upper Intermediate (3) Rides and/or takes spin classes 2 to 4 times a week for a total of 75 or more miles.
= Advanced (3/4) Rides and/or takes spin classes 3 to 5 times a week for a total of 100 or more miles. Has ridden multi-day tours and done a century ride.
= Expert (4) Rides 4 or more times per week totaling 150 or more miles. Rides E.F.I. with regularity. Has done numerous multi-day tours, century rides and races.

How Fit do I Have to Be? If one month prior to the tour, you can ride 2 to 3 times a week equaling a total of 75 or more miles a week, you'll do just fine. We like to jokingly say that "one is ready for a Lizard Head Cycling Tour when they are finished with tour" and this is true! The only way to simulate a week long bike tour is to go on a week long tour.

Our average rider age is 55 years. These are bike tours, not races so we take our time to stop, take pictures and see the sights. We have all day to reach our destination and most riders take "bumps" at some points. We offer reduced mileage options for each day. Of course if someone wants to ride E.F.I. (Every Freaking Inch), we love to show them all the extra climbs, loops and hidden canyons that can be included!

Do the Bump! Daily mileage options allow cyclists of varying abilities to enjoy this tour. One of our favorite options is to give cyclists a "bump" via the support vehicle, or a 10 to 20 mile lift down the road representing an hour of pedal time. After the bump the rider is "off the front" and riding at his or her own pace without feeling they are being left behind the group. They'll then have time to linger and take in the spectacular scenery. All cyclists come together in time for lunch. Afterwards, cyclists can take another bump and/or continue riding.

Seamless Mileage Options: Lizard Head Cycling Guides designs multiple mileage options for each tour – something we're well known for in our business. This technique is similar to heliskiing in that one does not ski everything, they ski the best. 🙂

Slow or Fast? Many cyclists who sign up for our tours have worried themselves silly about not being able to keep up, but then they're surprised to find that all the worrying was about nothing. They do just fine! Slow and Fast only exist relative to other cyclists. Speed does not matter as long as one is moving on the bike. As long as one is moving, they are truly going fast enough.

If you have questions about your ability to ride this tour, please contact our office via email or call us at 970.728.5891 - we'll more than happy to guide you!

Please also see this blog post for more information.

it is about a week we are back home from a fantastic trip to Colorado. We had the best time ever and I am pretty sure I want to come back to North America to ride my bike again. We were lucky to have a great weather day by day, the itinerary was perfectly set up, we enjoyed all kind of landscapes, we had a nice bunch of cyclists and there was always a warm and friendly atmosphere in the group and with the guides. We took home a huge number of beautiful pictures but those most memorable are written deeply into our memories. This trip exceeded my best expectations and my thanks go to all of you organizers. – Tomas

Spanish Peaks & Great Sand Dunes Bike Tour: Itinerary*

*Tour itineraries are subject to change and modification based on the group, available accommodations, road construction, road closures, and other unforeseen circumstances including weather, wildfires, flooding, hurricanes, landslides and/or other acts of nature. Also, the distances and elevation profiles shown below may not reflect the actual distances and elevations while on tour as these are provided here to give an idea as to the anticipated mileage and terrain. Please view this itinerary, the distances, and elevation profiles as a general outline as to what to expect while on this tour.

Day 1: Florissant to Cañon City, CO
50 miles with up to 2,850 feet of climbing

We begin our tour from deep within the front range with inspiring views on well paved roads along rolling terrain as we plummet nearly 5,500′ during the course of a 50-mile trek from Florissant to Canon City. Beware! There are some punchy climbs on the way down to Canon City. A treat near the end of the day will be a short section of narrow road called Skyline Drive that follows a ridge top traverse. The day ends in Cañon City’s municipal park.

En route to Cañon City

En route to Cañon City

Skyline Drive above Cañon City

Beauty alert!

Beauty alert!

Elevation Profile: +2850 ft / -5690 ft

Day 2: Florence to Colorado City, CO
60 miles with up to 6,215 feet of climbing

Starting from Florence today’s route begins with gentle climbing into the Wet Mountains that soon turns to steep climbing between the 11 to 22 mile mark. After the turn south onto the Greenhorn Highway, we enjoy a tremendous piece of road. The views of the Wet Mountains and Sangre De Christos during the day are spectacular and to the east, it appears one can see all the way to Kansas! After a stop at the uniquely strange Bishop Castle, there are a series of rollers and then a screaming 13-mile descent down through the Huckleberry Hills to Colorado City to end the ride at Obie’s Fillin’ Station for BBQ. We shuttle to Trinidad, Colorado for our accommodations at the Tarabino Inn.

San Isabel Lake

Frontier Pathways Scenic Byway

Wildlife along the Greenhorn Highway

The view from Bishop Castle

The view from Bishop Castle

Elevation Profile: +6215 ft / -5605 ft

Day 3: Trinidad to La Veta, CO
66 miles with up to 5,665 feet of climbing

Today ride The Highway of the Legends Scenic Byway around the Spanish Peaks. The route climbs up and over 9,995-foot Cuchara Pass and then quickly descends to the town of La Veta (7,013-feet) for tonight’s lodging. This is a big climb to Cuchara Pass with a real steep kick at the end. As a result there are big king of the mountain points to be gained on Cuchara Pass! From atop the pass it is a fast descent to end the day.

Highway of the Legends Scenic Byway

Sangre de Christos and storm in the background

Sangre de Christos and storm in the background

Elevation Profile: +5665 ft / -4710 ft

Day 4: La Veta to Great Sand Dunes National Park
61 miles with up to 3,270 feet of climbing

From La Veta, Colorado we’ll ride up to North La Veta Pass (9,413-feet) and after the descent through the towns of Fort Garland and Blanca while traversing around southern base of 14,000-foot Blanca Peak. The riding from the 4-mile mark to the 13-mile mark climbs North La Veta Pass. At the top the pavement improves and the shoulder widens for the rest of the ride to the Great Sand Dunes National Park!

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Hiking in the Great Sand Dunes

Hiking in the Great Sand Dunes

Elevation Profile: +3270 ft / -2195 ft

Day 5: Moffat to Gunnison, CO
87 miles with up to 3,500 feet of climbing

Today we’ll ride across the 7,000-foot San Luis valley past endless fields of potatoes. From the town of Saguache the route follows Hwy 114 for 62-miles toward Gunnison. Highway 114 is a beautiful road that crosses the continental divide at North Pass and then descends nearly 40-miles into Gunnison.

Cattle on the range

Along CO 114 on the way to Gunnison

Elevation Profile: +3500 ft / -3370 ft

Day 6: Gunnison to Creede, CO – The Cannibal Classic!
106 Man-Eating-Miles with up to 8,400 feet of climbing (Optional: 75-Mile ride)

The “Cannibal Classic” is one of the most challenging stages of the tour having earned its name from the infamous Alfred Packer, a miner who became snowbound on an ill-fated journey into the San Juan Mountains in the late 1800’s. Come spring, Packer was the only remaining miner alive from his party of six, looking pretty healthy. He had literally eaten his compatriots!

At approximately mile 58, you will take on one of the steepest paved mountain passes in Colorado – Slumgullion Pass at an elevation of 11,530 feet! This monster is a 6 mile climb that ascends nearly 3,000 feet; its average 7% to 9% grades feels particularly brutal coming at mile 90 of the Cannibal Classic.

At the top, you’ll descend 4 miles and then climb another 4 miles at a mere 4% grade to Spring Creek Pass and the Continental Divide. From Spring Creek, it’s just about a 30-mile descent to the wild west town of Creede.

Slumgullion Pass

Creede, Colorado

Elevation Profile: +8185 ft / -7175 ft

Day 7: Creede to Pagosa Springs, CO
64 miles with up to 3,400 feet of climbing

Riding south from Creede, you’ll pedal across the remote headwaters of Rio Grande watershed. The largest wilderness area in Colorado, the Weimuniche Wilderness, borders this lush region. After climbing the impressive Wolf Creek Pass (10,863’) near the end of the day, you’ll have climbed over the Continental Divide for the second time in two days.

Thrill to a 4,000-foot descent from Wolf Creek to Pagosa Springs along the headwaters of the San Juan River. We’ll be in close proximity to New Mexico and get a whiff of the state’s famous and fragrant green chile. After arriving in Pagosa Springs, you will enjoy a much-needed and deserved soak in the hot springs before a short shuttle to Durango, Colorado where we’ll check into our final night of lodging at the historic Strater Hotel. 

Atop Wolf Creek Pass

Wolf Creek Pass, Descent to Pagosa Springs

Elevation Profile: +3620 ft / -5255 ft

Spanish Peaks & Great Sand Dunes Bike Tour: Logistics & FAQs

Bike Shipping

Lizard Head Cycling recommends shipping with Bikes can be shipped either to our partner bike shop in each meeting town for professional assembly or directly to the meeting hotel for self-assembly. Bike boxes can generally be left at the meeting hotel during the tour. Bikes shipped across the continental US should be shipped 8 days prior to your tour.

Meals: Any dietary preferences or allergies should be noted on the registration form. Each of Lizard Head Cycling’s lunches contains gluten free options.

Ride Difficulty: This custom tour is designed for INTERMEDIATE to ADVANCED cyclists with various levels of fitness. Each day there are additional mileage options for advanced riders.

Tour Support: A 15-passenger van and trailer that carries luggage, food and equipment will support this tour.

General Tour & Cancellation Policies

Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with all of our tour and cancellation policies, which can be found by clicking here.

Travel Insurance

If you have not already, now would be a great time to consider adding travel insurance to your tour. You are welcome to use any travel insurance company you would like. We recommend Generali/Trip Mate.

Generally, if contracting COVID causes clients to cancel or interrupt their tour, trip insurance companies would treat it as any other illness as long as it is contracted after the insurance was purchased. Please check your individual plan documentation for details. Please note that quarantine is usually only covered if clients are actually sick with COVID. If a state requires quarantine upon arrival because of standardized state law, coverage is generally not covered. Again, check your individual plan documentation for details.

American Guests - use this link:

  • The Premium Plan is the only plan which offers Pre-Existing coverage so long as the plan is purchased prior to Final Payment.
  • The Premium Plan is the only plan that offers an optional Cancel For Any Reason - the policy must be purchased within 24 hours of initial trip deposit, the full trip cost must be insured, and if they cancel for Any Reason, it must be 48 hours prior to departure, and the reimbursement for an Any Reason claim is 60% of pre-paid, insured, non-refundable trip cost.
  • Customer Service can be reached at 1-800-874-2442 for coverage questions and policy modifications or to purchase by phone. Agency Code: LIZA0855

Canadian Guests - use this link:

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